Monday, June 30, 2008

Menu Monday

Nothing fun or new this week -- DH is having dental work done, so I let him pick his comfort foods...

Monday: Spaghetti w/ meat sauce
Tuesday: Goulash
Wednesday: Zesty Mozzarella Chicken and steamed broccoli (because I have a hunk of fresh mozz I want to use, and leftover chicken!)
Thursday: Steak and green beans
Friday: Turkey Sausage with onions and peppers -- some kind of veggie!

I do have a Recipe Exchange update coming, though!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Baked Club Sandwich

I'm pretty sure Ally is my husband's new hero.

Last Saturday, while I was browsing blogs and my Google Reader looking for the week's recipes, my hubby walked up behind me and said "That. We're having that. I mean -- can we have that??"

The item on the screen? Ally's "take" on a club sandwich. Leave it to three kinds of meat to make my hubby's little heart flutter! ha!

Admittedly, I had it starred in my Reader -- so I was happy to indulge him. I served it basic -- just some steamed broccoli on the side to off-set all that meat!!

This is a delicious sandwich. I'd totally make it again -- really, any combination of meat and cheese would be amazing this way. On my list to try? Philly cheesesteak style sandwiches, and ham and cheese. Mmmm...

With my changes...

Baked Club Sandwich
(Culinary Infatuation)

(Serves 2-4, depending on how big everyone's appetite is!!)

1 frozen bread loaf, thawed -- OR -- 1 refrigerated french bread loaf (I used the latter this time because I forgot to pull the bread out of the freezer to thaw!)
6 slices each (about 1/4 lb.) deli meat -- turkey, ham, roast beef
6-8 slices provolone cheese
1/2 cup (approx) shredded cheese (I used pizza blend -- had it in the fridge!)
melted butter for brushing the top
italian seasoning to sprinkle on top (I just used parsley -- DH is picky)

- Roll the dough out until it is a large rectangle (no measurements -- just as large as you want it!)
- Layer the meats and cheeses on one side of the rectangle however you like
- Roll the dough up pin-wheel style and transfer to a baking sheet
- Baste the top with butter and sprinkle with seasonings
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mom's Baked Beans (Two Ways)

Baked beans can sometimes be like macaroni and cheese -- everyone's got a different recipe, and everyone likes theirs best!

This is the baked bean recipe I grew up on -- my mom, and my grandma, both made these beans and I adore them. I tend to turn my nose up at other varieties -- these are the best! (IMO)

We usually served these beans as one of our many sides at 4th of July picnics, Memorial Day get-togethers, and every other excuse we could find to bring family members together to eat during the summer. Since I now live far away from my family, I made these this week to reminisce -- it just wasn't the same without the countryside and family around!

These beans are described as "two ways" because you can cook them two different ways, depending on your preference, time, etc.

Both are explained below.

Mom's Baked Beans
(Serves approximately 4-6 people -- depending on how hungry you are!!)

2 (16-oz) cans of baked beans (We always used Campbells Pork & Beans for this -- it's a nice starter and saves a lot of time. I don't believe they come in 16 oz. cans anymore -- just make sure you're close to 32 oz.)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard (or 1 tsp. regular or brown mustard)
1/2 cup ketchup
4-8 (depending on how much you like) slices of bacon, cut into small pieces (I reccommend frying off the bacon in advance -- gives nice flavor when it's pre-cooked!)
1/2 cup chopped onion

- Mix all ingredients together, then choose your cooking preference:

Way #1
- Mix all ingredients together in a large pan, heat over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, or until onions are tender

Way #2
- Bake for 1 hour, uncovered, at 350 degrees. Stir the mixture 1/2 hour into baking.

Protein Bars

I exercise 5 days a week. And I do so in the afternoon -- after work and before dinner. This means I'm almost always looking for some kind of afternoon snack to get me through my workout and give me time to get home, shower, and make dinner before I am ravenously hungry.

I've tried the store-bought protein bars, but they often upset my delicate stomach, or, they simply have the WORST consistency on earth (I am a "consistency" eater -- if it doesn't feel right in my mouth, forget it!!)

Chelley had these bars on her blog, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to give them a try. The protein would be of much use to me as an afternoon snack, and I'd never tried protein powder, so this seemed like a pretty safe introduction!

These bars are actually pretty good. I'd like to try them with vanilla or unflavored powder -- see if they taste more pea-nutty than chocolate-y. The chocolate flavor just has a little too much of that "this is health food chocolate" taste to it, for me.

DH also enjoyed these bars immensely. I've bookmarked several others to try, but this is the only no-bake, 5-minutes-flat style bar I have saved!

No-Bake Protein Bars
(Chelley's Blog)

Makes 9 bars

1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I used a chunky version and really liked the peanuts in these bars)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
4 scoops chocolate protein powder
2 tablespoons flax seed
6 tablespoons milk (I needed a splash more milk than this)

- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl
- Spread into a greased 8 x 8 glass dish and refrigerate until firm enough to cut.
- Cut into 9 squares, wrap individually, and store in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Info:
(Per Chelley)

1 serving = 1 bar

200 calories
8 g fat
15 carbs
15 g protein

Monday, June 23, 2008

Menu Monday

I'm probably going to be terrible about remembering to post every Monday, but I'm giving it a go!
Monday: Steak (DH is in charge of this one!), pasta and veggie sides
Tuesday: Baked Club Sandwich, broccoli florets
Wednesday: Homemade Baked Beans, Hot Dogs (old fashioned, in casing) -- DH's request
Thursday: Spaghetti with meat sauce
Friday: Leftovers!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Zesty Mozzarella Chicken

This recipe came from Kay, over at Kitchen Scrapbook. I like Kay's recipes -- her cooking style is similar to mine.

I'm just not a fancy eater. My delicate stomach won't tolerate odd spices, or weird replacements for protein, or any of that nonsense. I like good recipes -- but I don't feel pressured to find new and bizarre recipes. I'm more concerned with having a log of items I (and my husband) will actually eat.
*Steps off soapbox, now* Oops.

This chicken is VERY tasty. I'd say it's basically Chicken Parmesean, with a different name, but that didn't make me enjoy it any less! And it was easy and quick, to boot.

I served it simply with some local, fresh green beans.

Buy local, people!

Zesty Mozzarella Chicken

1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. milk
1 cup bread or cracker crumbs
2 tbsp. parmesean cheese
1/4 tsp. each salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and dried oregano (I think I added closer to 1/2 tsp. of each -- and I added 1/4 tsp. of onion powder as well)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tbsp. butter (I replaced this with olive oil -- enough to just barely coat the bottom of the pan)
1/2 cup pasta sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or italian blend cheese

- In a shallow bowl (I used a pie plate) combine the egg white and milk.
- In another bowl (again, I used a pie plate) combine bread or cracker crumbs, parmesean cheese, and spices.
- Heat oil (or butter if you use it) in a large skillet until warm.
- Dop chicken in the milk/egg mixture, then in the bread/cracker crumb mixture.
- Place in skillet and brown chicken on both sides until no longer pink and juices run clear (It took me about 10-12 minutes on medium/medium high heat)
- Meanwhile, heat the pasta sauce so it's warm.
- When chicken is done, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
- Remove from heat and cover for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
- Serve with pasta sauce.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Me in a Mosaic

I saw this on BeanTown Blogger's page, and thought it was neat. I normally only do food, here -- but I'm making the exception for this.

Here's how it works:

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into flickr search.

2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image.

3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge lab’s mosaic maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

The questions:

1. what is your first name?

2. what is your favorite food? right now?

3. what high school did you go to?

4. what is your favorite color?

5. who is your celebrity crush?

6. what is your favorite drink?

7. what is your dream vacation?

8. what is your favorite dessert?

9. what do you want to be when you grow up?

10. what do you love most in life?

11. what is one word that describes you?

12. what is your flickr name?

And thanks to the pictures that made up my image...
1. The "R.Kelly"- Song..., 2. Back from my Méditerranée villa, 3. Red Dawn, 4. Tibet, 5. imghenryfc5, 6. Absolut Disco, 7. IMG_2331, 8. coffee and chocolate mousse cake, 9. So Close Horse and Rider, 10. Summer time!, 11. Anxious, 12. lumen peittämä enkeli

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Laugen Brotchen (Bretzel Rolls)

DH told me the other day about an amazing bread he had while he was in Germany ( many, many moons ago). Granted, all bread in Germany is amazing -- but he knew a specific bread. He told me it tasted like a pretzel, but was the consistency of a bread roll.

We live in "Pennsylvania Dutch" territory, so my automatic response was "Oh, a pretzel roll." But no -- DH said this was fluffier, thicker than the standard pretzel roll seen in Central Pennsylvania for sandwiches and such. (And he's right -- this definately has a lot more "bread-like" quality to it than the standard pretzel roll)

A few minutes on the internet with my (incredibly broken/picked-up-from-DH) German, I discovered several recipes for Laugen Brotchen -- or Bretzel Rolls.

I chose this recipe arbitrarily -- they were all pretty similar. These rolls are DELICIOUS. If you're more creative than I, you can form them into little pretzel shapes before baking. I just scored the top of mine with an "X" and popped them in the oven. DH tells me the best way to eat these is warm, with lots of REAL butter....but I also think it would be amazing with some ham and cheese tucked in there and warmed. Or any meat and cheese, quite frankly! MMM!

Laugen Brotchen/ Bretzel Rolls/ Pretzel Rolls

Makes 12 rolls

1 1/3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons warm milk
2 1/2 teaspoons (approximately 1 small package) active dry yeast
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 cups all-purpose flour
kosher salt or pretzel salt
2 quarts (~ 8 cups) cold water
1/2 cup baking soda


- In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix 1/3 cup of the warm (105-115 degrees) water with the yeast and let stand until foamy (about 2-3 minutes for me)

- Add the remaining cup of warm water, the warm milk, melted butter, and brown sugar and mix to dissolve the sugar

- Attach your dough hook to your stand mixer, and slowly add the 4 cups of flour until combined. Continue using your dough hook to mix the dough until it forms a nice, firm dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl

- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot long log and cut into 12 even pieces

- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a damp cloth and let sit for 10 minutes (this step didn't say if i should wrap each piece individually, or lay the plastic over all of them, or what. i laid the plastic over all of them, then the damp towel, and it worked fine)

- Pat dough into rolls, or form pretzel knows and arrange on a lightly floured surface, about an inch apart, and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for an additional 30 minutes (again -- i just laid some oiled plastic wrap over the lot of them, and let them do their thing. they were fine)

- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets

- In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a rolling boil and add the baking soda

- Drop the rolls -- one or two at a time -- into the boiling water and boil for no more than 30 seconds, turning them over once. Carefully remove with tongs, spatula, or slotted spoon and hold above the pot to let drain

- Deposit boiled rolls into the greased baking sheet (6 per sheet) and sprinkle lightly with pretzel or kosher salt. Repeat with the remaining rolls

- Bake the rolls on the upper and middle racks of the oven for 8-10 minutes until brown all over -- if necessary, shift pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through, for even baking (I baked mine 1 baking sheet at a time to ensure consistency of color and cooking. I also turned the pan around halfway through. Mine also baked for 9 minutes)

- Let the rolls cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack

- Serve warm, or at room temperature


- I think these would make amazing sandwiches. I think I'd just split the top, tuck my sandwich ingredients in it like a pocket, and warm them in the oven -- mmm!!!
- The hubby says these aren't quite what he had in mind -- he remembers them being denser, darker, and crustier. Having done a little more reading since I made them, I think this comes from the tendency of German bakers to use rye and wheat flours, rather than enriched, bleached flours. Perhaps next time I will experiment with a more whole grain flour and see where it takes me.

Edit: I've entered this recipe in Joelen's Culinary Adventures blog event -- Oktoberfest!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chef Bradley BBQ Meatloaf

About a month ago, I was lucky enough to be chosen by Blake, at Blake Makes, to receive a free bottle of Chef Bradley's Lean Mean BBQ Sauce.

I wasn't sure what to make with it -- we don't have a grill, so grilling was out -- so I asked my dear hubby what he wanted me to make with it. His responses? (I should've known...) meatloaf or pulled pork. Well, okay, we'll work with that, then!

I made the meatloaf this week, but only used 1/2 bottle of my BBQ sauce - so perhaps I'll get to make both meatloaf AND pulled pork (I may try beef instead) as well! TWO Chef Bradley recipes!

My cute little loaves, ready for topping and baking

Chef Bradley's website says the Lean Mean BBQ Sauce is primarily a finishing sauce, but, I used it on my meatloaf while cooking as well. It had a nice, sweet flavor from cooking along with the meatloaf. I added more sauce to my piece of meatloaf, to taste the original flavor as well, and it was delicious -- it's got a little bit of zing to it, is a little peppery, but is very tasty -- AND it's healthy. How awesome is that??

Basic Meatloaf

(Makes 1 large loaf, or two small loaves)

1.5 lbs ground meat (I used ground beef and ground sausage for this -- you can use any ground meat)

1 small onion (or 1/2 large onion), finely diced

1-8oz. tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg

1/2-3/4 cup breadcrumbs (however much you need to make it bind)


- Mix all ingredients together, shape into loaves

- Top with BBQ sauce, ketchup, or whatever you enjoy

- Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until loaves are cooked through.

My finished BBQ meatloaf. Okay, so it isn't the most gorgeous thing you've ever seen, but trust was deeeeeeeeeelicious!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Homemade Hot Dog Chili Sauce

This recipe was one of my grandmother's -- and for some reason, old-fashioned hot dogs in casing, with chili sauce, just sounded FANTASTIC this week!

Sometimes you just need a little comfort food, ya know? I'm an adult -- if I want to eat like a 3 year old for dinner -- so be it!

The original recipe (below) makes 1 gallon. Seeing as I live in a 1-bedroom apartment, with a kitchen tinier than my work cubicle -- making 1 gallon of this stuff and freezing it was NOT a good idea.

I split the recipe in half -- realized it was STILL way too much -- and split it again. And I think that's where the issue arose. The spices just don't split evenly, I think. A pretty common occurance, though, and I'm relatively unpreterbed about it.

My chili sauce had a VERY strong clove flavor. I hate clove. This was bad. But I think with less clove, and more chili powder (maybe a sprinkle of cumin, to replace the nasty clove) it would be DEEELICIOUS. So those are my recc's -- run with it :-)

Below is the original (1 gallon), and then my divided-up recipe.

Hot Dog Chili Sauce
Ma's Recipe!

(Makes 1 gallons)

Sauce freezes easily for use later. Reccommend freezing in single-serving containers

2 lbs. ground beef, cooked, broken up into fine pieces (I use a potato masher and it works wonderfully), and drained of excess fat
1 1/2 cups finely diced onion
1/8 cup salt
1 1/4 oz. chili powder
1/2 -3/4 tbsp ground clove (Use 3/4 if you like clove, 1/2 or less if you don't)
1 tbsp black pepper
1 1/2 oz. paprika
1 tbsp sugar
1-14 oz. ketchup
6 cups of water
1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 cup water (Mix until flour and water are combined into a paste)

- Simmer all ingredients above together for 2 hours
- Stir frequently
- Makes about 1 gallon

Smaller Version of Above Recipe
1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked, broken up into fine pieces (I use a potato masher and it works wonderfully), and drained of excess fat
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder
1/3 tsp. ground clove (Use 3/4 if you like clove, 1/2 or less if you don't)
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 cups of water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup water (Mix until flour and water are combined into a paste)

- Simmer all ingredients above together for 20 minutes
- Stir frequently
- Makes about 4 cups

- I would leave the clove out entirely, as I hated the flavor of it
- I would increase the chili powder slightly, and replace the clove with cumin, to give it a smokier, chili-er flavor

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Blake Makes - Chef Bradley BBQ Sauce

YAY! My BBQ Sauce has arrived!

I entered a contest on Blake Makes several weeks ago, and ended up being one of the lucky winners of a jar of Chef Bradley's Lean Mean BBQ Sauce!

Now -- what to make with this delicious concoction??? Anybody have any ideas for me? I'm totally open to suggestion! Just leave a comment with your ideas :-)

(As long as you keep in mind that I have no grill, nor a grill pan -- I know what you're thinking, how can I live?! haha)

Monday, June 2, 2008

"To Die For" Blueberry Muffins -- Almost

When I saw this recipe on BrownEyedChef's blog, I knew I had to try it. I'm batty for blueberry muffins, and I am continuing my quest to find the perfect one.

This muffin was VERY VERY close to perfect...I think my only real problem with it was the crumble mixture on top -- mine didn't crumble...and it had some issues. Or rather, I had issues with it (I think I just let my butter get too soft before I made the crumble mix)

I think next time I'll just sprinkle with some large-granule sugar, and call it deliciousness. But, in the interest of the perfectionist that I am, I'll continue trying blueberry muffin recipes to find the "perfect" one!

Apologies for the bad image -- I was in a hurry on Sunday, and I knew if I didn't get a picture right out of the oven that DH would have them all eaten before I could try.

Apparently, in addition to walking away from my butter and letting it get warm, I also had uneven muffins. Bah. Who cares, they taste good. :-)

To Die For Blueberry Muffins
(BrownEyedChef's Blog)
(Serves 8 according to BrownEyedChef -- I got 9)

Muffin Ingredients
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Crumble Ingredients
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Muffin Directions
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
- Grease muffin cups or line with baking cups
- Combine 1.5 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder
- Place vegetable oilin a 1-cup measuring cup, add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup (1/3 cup milk)
- Mix the wet mixture into the flour mixture
- Fold in blueberries
- Fill muffin cups right to the top and sprinkle with crumb topping

Crumble Topping Directions
- Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking

- Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly golden brown

What Happened to Jello??

Warning: Jello does NOT photograph well.

Growing up, I remember my grandmother always had several varieties of jello and canned fruit in her pantry (along with a little Dream Whip to make things fancy!) -- so my question is:

What happened to jello??

Jello and fruit used to be a common, light dessert for my family, and my grandma was happy to "whip up a batch" when she knew we were coming over. She had several varieties (admittedly, my favorite was orange jello, mandarin oranges, and dream whip), and it was always a nice, cool treat in the summer.

In honor of the weatherman, who told me our "hot and humid" weather for the summer will be setting in this week, I've brought jello back. This actually isn't one of grandma's jello's, but it's still delicious.

(And perhaps Grandma's recipes -- for jello and otherwise -- will be making an appearance in the coming weeks. I'm feeling nostalgic!)
Strawberry-Cranberry Jello Salad
2 cups boiling water
1 large box cherry jello (Feel free to use sugar free if it floats your boat)
1 can whole or jellied cranberry sauce (I think mine was 14 oz. maybe smaller. whatever standard cranberry sauce is!)
1 20-oz can crushed pineapple (drained)
1 box frozen strawberries (thawed -- do not drain)
-Dissolve jello in the boiling water, and add cranberry sauce.
- Smash until the cranberry sauce is dissolved into the jello mixture.
- Add strawberries and drained pineapple.
- Stir and refrigerate until solid.
P.S. - If you were really old school -- this jello would make jello molds really well, I think! It's a good, solid jello!